Cayster 317BC

Following his recent defeat Antigonus reformed his Macedonian army and sort out Eumenes the two armies finally meeting on the banks of the Cayster River. Antigonus was hopeful that this time he would get the advantage of his foe with his 22,000 foot and 5000 cavalry. The core of his army was his phalanx and comprised 12,000 phalangites. This was reinforced by 6000 mercenary hoplites and 4000 Thracian all in close formation as well as 4000 light infantry. His mounted arm comprised his 2000 Companions, survivors of his last encounter with Eumenes, supplemented by a further 1000 Greek heavy cavalry and 2000 light cavalry. In Lost Battles terms Antigonus’ Macedonian army had a fighting value of 63 while Antigonus, rated as inspired leader increased this by a further 12 points.

Eumenes, despite his recent victory, had also reorganised his own army. As a result his army comprised some 32,000 foot, 4000 cavalry and 40 elephants. His phalanx alone now numbered 16,000 phalangites. The core of the phalanx was the 4000 veteran Silver Shields which were supplemented by a further 4000 drilled phalangites. However, no less than half the phalanx, some 8000, comprised a recently raised eastern levy. The ability of these troops was considered variable. Supplementing the phalanx was 4000 mercenary peltasts as well as 4000 eastern heavy infantry. Finally a swarm of no less than 8000 Asiatic light infantry completed the infantry. Eumenes mounted arm was less substantial. Along with 1000 Companions and 1000 light cavalry his Asiatic subjects provided a further 2000 heavy cavalry. Finally, and unlike Antigonus, Eummenes fielded 40 elephants. In Lost Battles terms Eumenes’ army also had a fighting value of 63 points, to which Eumenes added a further 12 points as an inspired leader as well.

The battlefield was open except for a portion of the Cayster river that flowed along Eumenes’ right wing. Nearby his army had encamped his army, far further forward than Antigonus’ camp and a wooded area on the Antigonid right rear. Realising that Antigonus was near, Eumenes deployed moving rapidly forward. This was especially the case in front of his camp and in his centre where the phalanx was massed in great depth. Antigonus countered massing his own phalanx opposite. His centre was however far weaker as he extended his line. To his left however some of his Companions and light horse deployed forward clearly threatening the Eumenid levy heavy cavalry positioned between the river and Eumenid camp. The Antigonid phalanx extended right until the right centre where the hoplites and Thracians were placed. Antigonus’ eastern light cavalry held right wing and overlapped the Eumenid line.


Above, the Antigonid army is deployed on the left while Eumenes is on the right with his left wing in the foreground. This photo was taken at the end of the first turn. Visible in the top right is Eumenes camp on beyond is the river.

The battle opened on the Eumenid left where Eumenes’ elephants, light infantry and light cavalry launched a series of attacks on the outnumbered Antigonid light troops shattering them in the process as shown below. The advanced Antigonid light infantry were shattered in short order.


Eumenes followed up the attacks and pressed forward from his left centre on the withdrawn Macedonian troops. The situation can be seen below.


Below, a view of the Macedonian right centre held by Greek hoplites and Thracians. In the top right Antigonus centre comprising 6000 phalangites and further 2000 hoplites. Numerically the Macedonian centre was considerably weaker than the Eumenid centre.


Below, another view this time from the Antigonid centre looking towards the Eumenid centre. A massed screen of Asiatic light infantry screen the Eumenid foot. To the left Macedonian light troops can be seen engaging the Eumenid right centre which was immediately in front of the Eumenid camp.


It was here that Antigonus pressed forward. The general situation on the Antigonid left can be seen below.


The Antigonid left wing 1000 Companions advanced towards the Eumenid levy cavalry. The river limited the available frontage for deployment. Miraculously the levy cavalry withstood the first charges gaining Eumenes crucial time for the infantry battle to develop. Above, 6000 Macedonian phalangites and 2000 supporting hoplites have been heavily engaged.

Below, as the battle here progresses, 500 Companions are thrown in an attempt to prolong the Macedonian left centre while attacks elsewhere continue.


Indeed, on the Macedonian right Antigonus hoped to overwhelm the advanced Eumenid left. Antigonid light cavalry attacked the flank while Thracians and Greek hoplites engaged frontally as can be seen below.


Amazingly the Eumind left held, though Eumenes was forced to advance 2000 Asiatic heavy infantry to reinforce an increasingly weakening line. However, the breakthrough occurred, but not on the Eumenid left rather it was in the centre where the massed Eumenid phalanx broke the outnumbered Antigonid centre!


Above, Eumenid troops press forward in the the Macedonian centre rear! Leading the advance are 4000 levy pike and 4000 levy  light infantry. To the rear are more Eumenid phalangites who will soon turn on Antigonus left centre.

Antigonus pressed forward in in one last attack. While his weaking phalanx reformed to attack his Companions advanced. In addition his light cavalry pressed forward towards Eumenes camp. Alas for Antigonus, the camp was now well protected by 4000 levy phalangites.


Antigonus’ position was now clearly hopeless. Realising this he and his cavalry and a portion of his phalax withdrew from the field. Eumenes had won another battle but Antigonus would reform his army around his veterans…

Before you start searching the history books our game was another fictional encounter between two Successor armies. The game was fascinating with Antigonus attempting to sack the Eumenid camp while completing a double envelopment of a larger army by weakening his centre. Much as Hannibal did at Cannae though with Hannibal having more success!

From a game perspective the figures were all 15mm models based on 40mm wide DBx bases. For this game one stand represented close formation veteran troops while two stands represented average formations. Levy formations and light troops had more stands per unit. As an example above  three light cavalry stands represent a 1000 light cavalry and the Eumenid camp is held by a unit of Levy pike, some four stands. Each sector on the table measured around 20cm square.

3 thoughts on “Cayster 317BC

  1. Another fine encounter. This time Eumenes protects the camp, and maintains the loyalty of the Silver Shields. I like the way those shields glint in the photographs. Now to recruit some more cavalry for the army of Eumenes (and some more elephants, . . . )

    1. The glint of the silver shields, please…

      Antigonus Monophthalmus will return, and soon the Silver Shields will fight for him! Next time I shall capture the camp!

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